I am the first to admit that Photoshop is a great and welcome addition to the photographer’s bag of tricks. It offers possibilities that were either impossible or at least very difficult to achieve in the past. Yet sometimes it can be fun and potentially even easier to work towards ones artistic vision the old fashioned way.
This photograph is one such example. The idea came to me a while ago which brought up the question of how to execute the image. For the manipulation to effect the final outcome I decided not to use Photoshop and go about it with film and a bit of simple trickery instead.
I started out by photographing the model with a Leica M6 equipped with a 50mm Summicron f/2 lens. Lighting was with studio strobe equipment. For optimum quality I shot on Agfapan APX 25 which was developed in Agfa Rodinal for 15 minutes with continuous agitation.
The image was enlarged with a Leitz Focomat V35 to a size of approximately 11 x 14 inches. That picture was transferred to a product table where I added the spoon on the bottom and sugar in the manner shown.
I then lit the set with a single light source with a 16 inch reflector and a diffusion disc attached. It was necessary to have this light source about 15 feet away from the set to avoid any visible light fall-off from the left to the right side of the set. Here it is important to remember that light intensity diminishes by the square of the distance. With other words, doubling the distance of any light source will diminish the intensity of the light by a factor of 4x or two stops.
The set was then photographed with a Leica R4 and a 135mm Elmarit-R and ELPRO close-up lens. This allowed for a greater camera to subject distance to avoid any visible shadows casted by the camera. Again the film was Agfapan APX 25 developed in the same manner. The resulting negative is now available for printing or scanning.
I made a slight mistake when setting up the 11 x 14 with the sugar. So far nobody has ever noticed it. So here is a challenge; take a close look and see if you can determine where this mistake lies. Please email me at email@example.com. I will publish your answers under comments below this article.